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From the BJP party president - BJP Today

L K Advani ()
16-28 February 1997

Title : From the BJP party president
Author : L K Advani
Publication : BJP Today
Date : February 16-28, 1997

Dear friend,

This incident occurred ten years back, that is, in 1987. State
Assembly Elections were being held in Kerala. In the course of my
campaigning I ran into three Sikh youths who told me that they were
dealers in automobile spare parts, that they had come that very
morning - from Delhi to Ernakulam in connection with their
business, but that they had decided to go back immediately. On
enquiring as to why they were rushing back so abruptly, they told
me a distressing tale.

Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was scheduled to visit the place the
next day. The three young men had checked into a medium sized
hotel. Shortly thereafter, a posse of policemen arrived, whisked
them away to a nearby police station and directed them not to stir
out of their hotel rooms until after the PM's departure from the
place the next evening. They were told that all Sikhs in town had
been put under similar constraints. When they protested, they were
threatened with incarceration. Ultimately, the police let them go
only when they agreed to return to Delhi that very day!

This incident was no isolated incident those days. Terrorism
arrived in Punjab in the early eighties. This was a development in
promoting which the Congress Party had a major role. Since then,
however, a systematic campaign was launched by those in authority
to defame the entire community as terrorists, and to make Sikhs
feet second class citizens. In 1982, Sikhs from Punjab on way to
Delhi to witness the Asiad went through many harrowing and
humiliating experiences. The worst, of course, was the 1984 pogrom
in Delhi in which within 5 days more than 3000 Sikhs were killed in
cold blood. and yet tile Congress Government refused to raise even
a little finger in their defence.

As if to add insult to injury, Congress' advertisement campaign for
the 1984 Lok Sabha elections included inserts which sharply
underlined this Sikh-is-a-terrorist slander. One of these inserts
pointedly posed the sly question as to why a citizen felt a sense
of fear if the driver of the taxi he had boarded happened to be a
Sikh !

The BJP's principled stand throughout this period has stood it in
good stead. In the 1984 polls we had to pay a heavy electoral
price on this account. But, looking back, what has been achieved
in Punjab today is in no small measure due to the BJP's impeccable
and uncompromising stand, more particularly in respect of the 1984
massacre. And when I am talking of achievement, I am not referring
to the electoral triumph secured. It is the harmony and mutual
trust established between the two major communities which is the
real achievement. As every newspaper has noted, the 1997 election
has been the first peaceful poll in Punjab in seventeen years !

For one full decade the perpetrators of the 1984 outrage remained
immune to the law. Only a BJP Government headed by Shri Madan Lal
Khurana was able to shake up the law-enforcement machinery -from
its slumber and put in motion a Process for punishing the

In Punjab today, Congressmen have been cheekily accusing the BJP
and Akali Dal of 'opportunism'. It's an alliance purely for
electoral ends, they say.

When in 1967, the Akali Dal led by Justice Gurnam Singh and the
Jana Sangh led by Dr. Baldev Prakash came together, that was
essentially a poll alliance arrived at to defeat the mighty
Congress. But in these last thirty years there have been events
(the struggle against the Emergency was a major event) that have
cemented the friendship bonds between the two parties in a manner
that in this last election campaign the Akali Dal and the BJP
appeared to be parties Just made for each other" !

The poll campaign in Punjab has really been -art exhilarating
experience for us. I have never in the past seen a joint poll
campaign work as smoothly and as effectively as this Akali Dal -
BJP campaign.

Right from the stage of seat allocation, to drawing up of a common
minimum programme, to planning the publicity campaign, to
organising joint poll rallies, every thing went off without even a
minor hiccup. All the three main Akali leaders Prakash Singh Badal,
Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Surjeet Singh Barnala-campaigned
continuously for all the Alliance candidates. From the BJP side,
too, we had a galaxy of campaigners led by Shri A.B. Vajpayee.

A bonus for me during the campaign was a visit to Fatehgarh. to the
site where Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh, sons of Guru Gobind
Singh, were interred in a wall by tile order of Wazir Khan.
Governor of Sirhind. A gurudwara has been constructed at the spot
while the wall in which the two brave boys are supposed to have
been martyred has been preserved just below the gurudwara. A visit
such as this is at once inspiring and sanctifying. It was, indeed,
a pilgrimage for me.

The new leadership of the Congress Party has been labouring hard to
make the ousted leader Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao a scapegoat for the
entire mess in. which tile party is today. An impression was being
assiduously built tip that with the ouster of P.V. the Congress has
started recovering its lost vitality. One major outcome of the
Punjab poll results would be the shattering of this illusion.
Congressmen would do well to realise that the pathetic plight in
which the party is in today is not due to the sins of any one
leader. It is the upshot of a continuing process of decadence and
degeneration and the result of the accumulated sins of many.

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